Preparing for Heart & Vascular Surgery
Facing any upcoming heart and vascular procedure can be intimidating, especially if you've never had surgery before. That's completely normal. The more knowledge you have before your surgery, however, the less unknown there will be to worry about. And with Baptist heart and vascular surgeons by your side, you can feel confident knowing we're here for you.
To prepare for your heart and vascular surgery and learn as much as you can beforehand, take a look at some of the most important information below.
Before Your Surgery
Once you arrive at the hospital, you will meet with your health care team, including surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses and therapists. These professionals will talk to you about your upcoming procedure, so be sure to ask any questions you may have.
This is also a time when you may undergo final tests or procedures, such as electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), X-Rays or other tests. You may have your blood drawn for lab tests and to cross-match for donor blood. You may also be directed to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, since it can affect the way your blood clots.
After you are admitted to the hospital, you won't be able to eat or drink anything until after your surgery. Your specific timeline may differ depending on which procedure you are undergoing, so check with your healthcare staff if you have questions about when to stop eating and drinking.
Lastly, you should be aware that the site of the surgery may be shaven prior to your procedure. The skin will also be washed with an antiseptic soap to reduce risk of infection.
Leading Up to Surgery
If you're feeling anxious prior to your cardiovascular surgery, you may be able to receive medicines to help you rest and relax. Personal items, including your glasses, dentures, jewelry, contact lenses or other items can be left with a loved one.
Our health care professionals will wheel you to the operating room on a rolling bed. Once you arrive in the operating room, you will be given anesthesia to cause a deep sleep and prevent any pain. This anesthesia may leave you with no memory of the operation.
Depending on which type of procedure you are undergoing, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to four or five hours. Your loved ones should wait for you in the waiting room, where the surgeon will update them when your procedure is complete.
When your procedure is complete, you will be wheeled to a recovery room where you will gradually awaken from the anesthesia.
If you have any other questions about how to prepare for your heart and vascular surgery, speak with your doctor. He or she is there to make sure you have all of the information you need.